Planned Parenthood 101
Hello, lovely Germs! Prepare to educate yourself. Today, we’re going to be talking about Planned Parenthood. Now, I realize that there are a lot of misconceptions that go along with this topic, so let’s get the biggest one out of the way. Planned Parenthood is not an abortion clinic. That’s not to say that they don’t do abortions (because we all know that they do), but they also offer a slew of other services that most people aren’t aware of.
I want to preface this by saying that this article is by no means encouraging or discouraging sex. Your body and what you do with it is 100% your prerogative; but, I want to at least make sure that we’re all aware of what is available, so any sex that you may have is safe and consensual. There are a lot of things that I won’t be able to touch on (Planned Parenthood has a lot to offer, y’all), but I do want to go over some of their main services — Planned Parenthood 101, if you will.
First: condoms and birth control. If you walk into a Planned Parenthood, expect to walk out with an armful of various condoms, pamphlets, and emergency contraceptives. The greatest thing that you can do for yourself, being the sexually active teen that you are, is take advantage of this! Condoms are expensive. Like, really expensive! What better way to practice safe sex than by stocking up; and, just in case you forget about those free condoms, they also have emergency contraceptives (plan B) for you as well.
Aside from all the free goodies that they give you, they also provide a variety of healthcare services. It wasn’t until I was out of high school and in college (the transition from private school to public school was eye opening, I’ll tell you that) that I realized that Planned Parenthood wasn’t just a place to go when you needed an abortion or condoms. They provide healthcare for both men and women, including STD testing, pap smears, physicals, vaccines, UTI testing, and mammograms. Of course, this all varies by location, so check online to find one that provides whatever services you’re looking for.
If you don’t want anyone to know where you’re going for your health care or what you’re going for, you can rest assured that your identity and any services that you are receiving will be confidential. Additionally, your financial situation doesn’t have to stop you from seeking help! The staff can work with you and your insurance to make sure you are receiving the care that you need without the added worry of finances.
You would think that, being the 21st century, our culture would be a little less weirded-out by sex. But the truth is that we still have a long way to go, especially when it comes to female sexuality. So, it is up to us to take agency and look out for ourselves. It is extremely important to be aware of what’s going on with your body and to know where you can go if you have questions or concerns. You should feel safe to be open and honest about it.
For further information, I’ve attached the link for the Planned Parenthood website for you. Please, don’t hesitate to at least check it out. You might just be surprised at what you find!